Monday, April 15, 2013

Jonathan Winters

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Very sad news over the weekend...

Jonathan Winters, the wildly inventive actor and comedian who appeared in such films as "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" and "The Loved One" and played Robin Williams' son on the TV show "Mork & Mindy," has died. He was 87. 

Though he never had a breakout starring role, over the years his appearances on TV shows made him a beloved figure in the entertainment world. He was a favorite guest on "The Tonight Show" -- particularly in the early '60s when Jack Paar hosted it -- and turned up on the game show "The Hollywood Squares," Dean Martin's celebrity roasts and countless variety shows. 

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He told the Archive of American Television about the creation of his character Maude Frickert, the sarcastic old lady, who came from a relative he had. "I decided, having seen a lot of older people, that many of them are shelved -- put in retirement homes to rot," he said. "I decided to (be) a hip old lady" -- one who had a wicked sense of humor, the kind of person who was married 12 times and cracked a whip in a ward of cardiac patients. 

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He had a regular role on the final season of "Mork & Mindy", putting him together with Williams, who played the space visitor Mork from Ork. Winters played Mearth, Mork's son, who -- having hatched from a giant egg -- was the size of an adult but had the mind of a child. 

I remember him from numerous talk show appearances and, of course, from Mork and Mindy (which I never missed). He was a very funny man...very quick-witted.

He will be missed.

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